Foxhall Edwards, an editor for a publishing house who becomes George Webber’s friend and trusted adviser for a time. He is a genius at encouraging young writers to find themselves and acquire the confidence they need to produce literary art. He is also a skeptical person who believes that if humans are not destined for freedom, they must accept this fact. Edwards’ fatalism is at odds with George’s idealistic desire to better the lot of humankind by working to change conditions. These divergent attitudes cause a break in the friendship between the two men.
Lloyd McHarg, a successful American novelist who has won worldwide fame based on a number of excellent novels. He has found fame to be empty and searches for something; he knows not what. McHarg’s disillusionment is a bitter lesson for young, idealistic George Webber, for whom McHarg has been a symbol of greatness as a man of letters.
Esther Jack, an older woman who has been George’s mistress in the past and becomes so again for a time after he has achieved success. He leaves her a second time when he decides that to find himself, he must leave Esther’s sophisticated set and get to know the common people of the world.
Else von Kohler, a beautiful, intelligent young German woman with whom George has a tender romance while revisiting Germany during the 1930’s.